September 2013


Author: Drew Laughlin & Lisa Sulka | Photographer: photography by Anne

Looking Back 350 and 30 Years
Drew Laughlin
I think it’s fair to say that Captain Hilton would be surprised by two things: First, he would marvel at the development of the island and, second, he would marvel at how we managed development in such a way that our trees, water, and clear sweet air have been retained. As a resident of Spanish Wells, I have been told that Spanish Wells was a frequent stop for ships seeking fresh “sweet water,” thus the word “Wells.” I would like to think that Hilton would consider that the town’s efforts over the last 30 years have successfully protected the natural resources he vividly described 350 years ago.

Hilton didn’t “discover” our island. Native American Indians lived here for thousands of years before Hilton arrived, and an African American population has existed on the island for hundreds of years. So, while Hilton named and charted the island and area, we should acknowledge those who came before him and after. So, too, is the fact that the island’s history didn’t start in 1983 when we incorporated. The island has been home to people for thousands of years.

For the 30 years since incorporation, though, I want to acknowledge the work of all town councils who each have marked their terms with distinct accomplishments. Our growth management, land acquisition, parks and recreation development, natural resource preservation, road/drainage improvements, and now redevelopment are examples of some of our hallmark accomplishments. We could not, and cannot, achieve these and more without the support of our residents.

Countless island volunteers and organizations have been planning a 350/30 Anniversary weeklong celebration, and nothing speaks better to the character of our residents than this effort. Some of the highlights of the week include:

September 30, 2013
Hilton Head Island Pathways Connect Bike Ride
Town of Hilton Head Island Open House
Palmetto Quilt Guild Collection of Quilts Exhibit

October 1 2013
Island History Day Bus and Self-guided Tours and Keynote Speakers Event

October 2, 2013
Community Day at the Shelter Cove Farmers Market
October 3, 2013
Palmetto Quilt Guild & Island Camera Club Reception
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Open House

October 4, 2013
Presentation by Jerrold Hilton (member of the Captain William Hilton family)—The Heritage Library
350/30-Almost 5K & Tot Trot

October 5, 2013
350/30 Grand Finale Celebration—Community Event at Coligny Beach (Noon-6 p.m.)

For the full schedule of events and details, visit Please attend these events and embrace our community spirit.

From Building Community to Being Community
Lisa Sulka
The vision of the Department of Engineering & Public Works is “We Build Community,” and the public can easily see the parks, buildings, roads, and infrastructure that the department builds and maintains. What most people don’t see is the work these staff members take on after the workday is done.
You may have been to a Christmas parade, a festival, or a river or neighborhood clean-up event. Did you know that every single employee in Engineering & Public Works has volunteered her or his time for one or more of these events? These people are taking time out of their evenings and weekends to give back to the community.
Some of these events are organized by town staff. Staff in multiple departments worked together to make the Christmas parade happen, and Julie Bulger and Melvin Hamilton led the charge by the department’s Public Works Division to handle this event. The May River Clean-Up event was managed by our Stormwater Division, and Kim Jones’ leadership has been effective in turning this event from a simple trash pick-up into a community education & outreach celebration. Department volunteers at town-sponsored events have included Alex Leinbach, André Coleman, Carl Norris, Gerry Diaz, James Ayers, Jeff Wiggins, Jeremy Ritchie, John Hutchinson, John Smith, Julie Bulger, Karen Jarrett, Kim Jones, Mac Patterson, Melvin Hamilton, Ron Bullman, Ron Olson, Scott Budrow, Tara Mattox, and Thomas Grant.
In the area of education, staff members also volunteer in the local schools. They have worked with colleagues in other departments during the Youth in Government events over the last few years, including classroom and field visits. Kim conducts environmental field trips and works with children in several local schools, and James has helped out in the science lab at the local elementary school during science fair season.
Community needs are sometimes served by non- governmental agencies such as grassroots organizations, churches, or non-profit organizations. Department staffers get involved with these groups, too. For example, Melvin, John H., Jeff, and James volunteered at the recent renovation at Eagles Field. On a more formal and on-going basis, John serves as a volunteer coordinator with an animal rescue organization here in the Lowcountry, and James serves on the local literacy board that works with adults who have educational needs.
Sometimes they have served the community as part of a larger region. Kim currently serves on the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium’s Coastal Communities Advisory Committee as well as Clemson’s Carolina Clear Advisory Board. Ron B. has participated in the South Carolina Association of Stormwater Managers, and he is the past president of that organization. James served on the Lowcountry Workforce Investment Board, including four years as chair.
The public servants in this department really do serve the community. Many of these women and men are friends, neighbors, and colleagues. They volunteer in the neighborhoods, serve on boards and committees, help out at church, and they try hard—workday or not—to live up to the Bluffton ideals. 

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